Can You Trust BMW’s Lifetime-Rated Fluids?

BMW owners are loyal clients of the brand; when they want to trade in their old one, the rate of return to another BMW is impressive. In other words, BMW engineering is remarkably sound and customers notice. Part of the success of the brand can be attributed to the customers themselves; owning a high-performance, luxury vehicle like a BMW is a privilege that does not go overlooked by those who drive them. In fact, BMWs have some of the highest level of care worldwide—many people across the globe recognize their value and take care of them accordingly. In Texas, where driving conditions can get pretty hairy, there is a noticeable difference between the experience of BMW drivers who care for their vehicles, and those who do not. A huge part of ongoing vehicle maintenance is fluid-related, and BMW has made efforts to make maintenance simpler for consumers by developing lifetime-rated fluids. In theory, these fluids are designed to cut down on the inconvenient trips to your automotive specialist. But do these specialty fluids really ensure performance and longevity?

 
BMW F26 X4 Fluid Change

The Lifetime-Rated Fluid “Promise”

Vehicle maintenance is a huge deterrent from owning a car for the vast majority of individuals; keeping up with tire rotations, oil changes, and transmission flushes can be an exhausting responsibility and inconvenience. Alas, it is the most cost-effective way to protect what most call a “terrible investment.” Economically speaking, ongoing maintenance is the smartest way around troubling repair costs and long weeks without transportation, and fluid maintenance is no exception. When BMW came up with the idea of lifetime-rated fluids, it was a competitive maneuver to entice the average buyer to switch to a high-performance BMW. While it may sound appealing to own a vehicle that doesn’t require basic fluid changes and maintenance for up to 100,000 miles, it is important to view this promise from a skeptical lens—particularly if performance and longevity are your top priorities.

The Grey Areas of Vehicle Maintenance

There are many factors that contribute to the level of care and maintenance required for your BMW, and for some, vehicle maintenance may be more strenuous than for others. Depending on your driving habits, your BMW may not need rigorous maintenance; on the flipside, your driving habits may require you to go beyond just typical fluid changes. Based upon individual differences in driving alone, vehicle maintenance can vary greatly in intensity and frequency. Typical driving conditions, the duration of daily commutes, individual differences in driving style (those with lead feet, we’re talking to you), and other factors weigh heavily on maintenance decisions. Furthermore, the regular level of maintenance you engage in drastically affects fluid quality over time. Additionally, some BMWs have their own issues and quirks that can specifically lead to contaminated oil or transmission fluid, and other damaging effects that require repair. Therefore, one can understand why a lifetime-rated fluid guarantee is not really a guarantee at all.

 
Blue BMW E90

Last Impressions

Scheduled maintenance is a critical aspect of vehicle care that should not go overlooked; however, when the manufacturer is suggesting a maintenance routine that does not align with that of your BMW specialist, things can get confusing. We advise our clients to remain skeptical of any “lifetime” guarantees on fluids because we have a long history of BMW repair and maintenance for the average, everyday driver and have witnessed first-hand the failure of that promise. That is not to say that the fluids will not last for an extended period of time, but the outcome is greatly affected by many other factors. The experts here at Ultimate Bimmer Service in Carrollton, Texas are committed to honest, dependable, and specialized BMW care because we have a unique passion for the brand, and we have dedicated ourselves to mastering the ins and outs of BMW design and engineering. The most important takeaway is to continue to regularly service your BMW following the manufacturer-recommended maintenance plan alongside trusted professional opinions. We know that vehicle maintenance can feel like an added expense to most drivers, and we offer competitive pricing so that every BMW owner can experience performance at its greatest. If you have any questions about fluid changes or other maintenance issues, contact us—we look forward to helping you make informed decisions about BMW maintenance and care.

Images credit go to: DarthArt & kurmyshov.

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